Talking Racing And Watches With Red Bull Racing’s Pierre Gasly
It’s not easy breaking into Formula One’s exclusive field of 20 drivers. Fortunately, Pierre Gasly doesn't crack under pressure.
When Daniel Riccardo left Red Bull Racing at the end of 2018, he left behind a much coveted F1 race seat. Having a place on a top-tier team such as Red Bull puts you at the tip-top echelon of motor racing. With F1’s current roster of 10 teams (two cars per team), there aren't a lot of opportunities for even the most experienced of drivers. Luckily, Pierre Gasly isn’t your average racer.
The French-born Formula One driver has excelled at nearly every level of motorsport. The GP2 and Formula Renault champion joined the Red Bull program in 2014 when he became the team’s reserve driver. In 2017, Gasly was promoted to Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso. After multiple points finishes in 2018, Gasly was formally promoted to Red Bull’s parent team, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. On the occasion of the Canada Grand Prix, Watchonista was given the opportunity to speak with Gasly about his love of watches and much, much more.
Joining Team TAG Heuer
A cool side benefit of joining Red Bull was the team’s association with TAG Heuer. Partners since 2016, Red Bull Racing, and TAG Heuer recently renewed their partnership into 2019 and beyond. Gasly joins Max Verstappen as ambassadors of sorts for TAG Heuer's 'Don't Crack Under Pressure' campaign.
Another benefit is the watch! Most young adults are adjusting to the pressures of a post-college 9 to 5. The thought of spending thousands of dollars on a wristwatch hasn’t even entered their minds. Yet, Gasly, at the age of 23 received a TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 01 upon his arrival at the team. Thus far, his 2019 results on track have been impressive given the enormous pressure he's under.
Interview with Pierre Gasly
Just seven races into the 2019 season and Gasly has scored five top 10 finishes. He's certainly a driver worth keeping an eye on, which is why we were so thrilled to be able to sit down with him!
Josh Shanks: Pierre! A pleasure to meet you. Thanks for taking the time for Watchonista. How are you finding your first season with Red Bull?
Pierre Gasly: I must say it's been pretty good. Starting at the beginning of the year [with Red Bull], only my second season in Formula One, and being on a top team for sure felt amazing. Also, because, since I joined the Red Bull program back in 2014, was like my dream as a young driver to join this team. So, yeah, it's clearly something special to be part of this team, and I would say it's going well, but every weekend I'm always looking to improve.
JS: It was a good day today! [Gasly qualified 5thfor the Canadian Grand Prix]
PG: Yeah, it was good [laughs]. I'm never satisfied, so I always look at how I could have done a bit better. But the overall feel was decent.
JS: What was your first nice watch?
PG: I always liked watches, but when you don't have the money to buy them, you look at them, and it's kind of a dream. So, I would say that for the past 18 months I've gotten more into the differences between all of them. I like fashion in general. I love clothing and accessories, so watches are part of that.
JS: Racing and timekeeping are intrinsically linked, what's your relationship with time?
PG: Well, as you said, timing is our whole lives because we're always looking at how to go faster. I think life, in general, everybody is time efficient and looking at how they can be more efficient in everything they do. So, especially as a racing driver, I think that's the primary correlation that we have with time. The whole time we are in the car we are looking for thousandths of a second - a couple of hundredths or tenths - and that makes a huge difference in my life. Like today, two-tenths [of a second], would have put me third and I would have a much bigger smile than I have now [laughs]. It's all about time in our lives. Everything is about time. I always feel like I never have enough, like 99% of people. But, as a driver, you are always connected with time.
JS: What is your go-to watch?
PG: I would say there are a couple I like. Of course, the Formula One models that we wear pretty often. But I quite like the Monaco, which is a classic.
JS: A lot of your fellow racers have nice watches. Are there any good watch stories from the pit lane or paddock?
PG: For sure. You know, the more experienced drivers, the world champions, as soon as you start to earn [money], that's part of the [lifestyle]. For many, it's something really elegant, you know, to have nice watches and to have quite big collections. I don't really have any stories in mind. I'm not going to say any names [laughs], but I know top drivers have big collections with different brands and expensive pieces. Hopefully, I'm going to be in that position one day where I will have my room with….
JS: A hundred TAG Heuers…
PG: Exactly [laughs]. I mean the good thing is, of course in Formula One, as it's related to time, you always see a lot of different watches. It's clearly something, for me, it excites me, and I would like to get more into it.
JS: With TAG Heuer you join pretty prestigious company, I mean, there's been a long line of drivers that have raced under the TAG Heuer banner. One of those drivers is Ayrton Senna. What would you say, as a driver, you’ve learned from Senna?
PG: For me, it's pretty amazing to represent a brand that he represented since he's my idol in Formula One. Of course, I'm a different generation. I was born after he had his crash, unfortunately. But the legacy he left in Formula One and what people say about the kind of driver he was and the kind of person he was. For me, he was my idol since I was really young and in carting. He was really special, really talented, really fast, but with a lot of charisma as well. And, he just managed to touch a lot of people in Formula One but also outside the sport. He was a legend of Formula One.